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Page last updated at 07:00 GMT, Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Soldier David Wade signs for Gloucestershire

David Wade
Wade is determined to make his mark at Nevil Road

Soldier David Wade has turned down a return to Afghanistan to play cricket for Gloucestershire next season.

Wade, 27, a Lance Corporal based near Salisbury with the Royal Signals Corps, was due to head off in January for his second tour of duty in Kabul.

But the paceman has instead been offered a two-year deal at Nevil Road.

"It's a last roll of the dice for me as far as playing professional sport is concerned and I will be giving it all I've got," he said.

Chichester-born club cricketer Wade, who was on Hampshire's books as a youngster, has played for the Army since 2006.

He has also played at club level for Havant, Godmanchester and Westbury, getting his chance following a successful trial in August when he took four wickets for Gloucestershire's Second XI against a MCC XI.

And, having been offered a two-year deal, he reported for pre-season training along with the rest of Gloucestershire's new-look squad last month. But he admits that he will have regrets about not going to Afghanistan.

"I was due to go back out there in January for a six-month tour of duty," he said.

David trialled with us early last year and impressed us with his pace, bounce and outswing

Director of cricket John Bracewell

"The soldiers going out to Kabul this time have got a hard job and my troop will be going out in an infantry role.

"There is a pang of regret about not going with them because I did all the build-up training and I was ready to go.

"But my fellow soldiers are right behind me in the decision I have made and wish me well.

"I have been here since the players reported back in November, but everything had to be right with the Army and it took a little time to get everything sorted out."

Having lost the cornerstone of last summer's bowling attack, following the loss to Somerset of Steve Kirby and Gemaal Hussain, and Middlesex-bound Anthony Ireland, director of cricket John Bracewell has been busy building a new side.

"Like Gemaal Hussain," said Bracewell, "David is a relative late comer to the professional game and, like his predecessor, was discovered through our scouting programme.

"He trialled with us early last year and impressed us with his pace, bounce and outswing.

"With his proven discipline and obvious courage through the armed forces, he has shown throughout the winter months a dedication to training and coaching."

As well as latest signing Wade, young Academy trio Graeme McCarter, Michael Beard and Craig Miles have all signed their first contracts, along with young wicketkeeper Richard Coughtrie and top-order batsman Ian Cockbain, from MCC Young Cricketers.

"Gloucestershire's offer came out of the blue," said Wade, who will remain in the Army, but continue training with Gloucestershire during the winter and then be free to play cricket full time for the whole of next season.

"But I have always played club cricket at a very competitive level.

"I have been in the Army for six years and spent seven months in Afghanistan between September 2007 and April 2008."

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